Sunday, June 21, 2009

The truth is, you weren't 'here first'

From an Episcopal Priest in Virginia

"I was here first." Every parent and most elementary school teachers since the beginning of time can count the millions (okay, thousands) of times they've heard this demand for preferential treatment.

Usually spoken either with a whine — "you should have noticed; how could you forget me" — or with a punch — "watch out; you're not a match for me" — the four words begin to morph into more sophisticated utterances after about third grade.

I can remember when, as the parent of sibling teenagers, the words I heard were, "I'm telling the truth" (with emphasis on the word truth), which on the bottom line really meant, "He's not."

Or the words became behavior that defined access — who's in, who's out. "Nancy won't let me be in her club." It seems that Sally, Barbara, and Judy were there "first." Chosen, special, thus blessed.

God is merciful and kindergartners graduate into adulthood and daughters and sons move on ... to hear the plaintive wail from their children.

These days I'm most often in the company of adults, but I still hear that four-word sentence. Well, not the actual words themselves. Most of us adults are way too polite to push ourselves to the front of a line or complain from last place with an "I was here first."

However, the desires for special notice, the commitments to preferred status can become another kind of language. And this underground language may be louder and more powerful than mere words.

More here-

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